Have you ever had that friendship where you were the one always reaching out first to make plans or to have a conversation? That’s my friendship with X (not her actual initial) in a nutshell. I’ve known her for 20 years (maybe even a little longer).
I’ve been trying to remember how we actually became friends. I wasn’t always the one who reached out first to make plans. It was more 50/50. We used to work for the same school district. We started going out to dinner on a fairly regular basis for company and conversation about 15 years ago. I worked during the summer and X did not. We were always able to pick up right were we left off, even after 3 months of not seeing each other.
After the financial meltdown of 2008, we limited our dinners to once a month. We were still able to pick up where we left off and catch up. We would talk about our families and our lives with very personal details. X’s husband was laid off by his boss. Due to his chronic health issues, he was not able to find another job. After a process that took several years, he was able to get social security disability.
In 2010, X did something at work that she really should not have done without documentation. Everything would have been fine if she had documentation. X was transferred to a different position at a different location.
The next year, X resigned from her job with the school district. She got a job with a different education entity.
The friendship continued. We would meet for dinner and talk. Over the years, she would tell me how much she appreciated the fact that I didn’t cut off contact with her. Several of our co-workers did not contact her after she was moved to a different position in the district. But I was the one making contact first and suggesting dinner.
Conversations began to feature her new co-workers turned friends. She took a trip to New York City with a group of co-workers in 2015. I was glad that X was having some fun after the difficulties caused by her husband’s lack of work and the social security disability process. I didn’t always agree with her life choices, but I tried to be supportive during her difficult family times. Our dinners became less frequent. At one of our last dinners, I told her about my dream of moving to Paris in 2024.
In May 2016, X was preparing for a second trip to New York City. I sent a text wishing her a safe trip. She texted back to thank me. We’re still “friends” on a particular social network. I wished her a happy birthday last August. She wished me a happy birthday later in the year.
This is going to sound terrible, but I wanted to see how long it would take for her to reach out first.
I started writing a post like this one several times over the past year. I haven’t been able to finish a post until now. I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection. For the past year, I have wondered if I caused the break in our relationship because I told her about my Paris dream. I have stopped wondering now. I have deleted X’s contact information from my phone. At one time, I considered X to be like a sister. I had seriously considered making her the beneficiary of my estate and Teacher Retirement if my parents predesceased me. That’s not going to happen now.
I will always wish X and her family well.